Andrew Peter Brian (54), formerly of Ripponden and now of Ware, Hertfordshire, was recently sentenced to a 12-month suspended prison term after pleading guilty to running a company in breach of a directorship disqualification.
His son Thomas Brian (31), also from Ware, and Stephen O’Connor (65), from Halifax, received community orders.
The court heard that the Insolvency Service led an investigation into the affairs of a company called Met Euro Limited. Incorporated in February 2011, Met Euro supplied component parts used in engineered manufactured products.
According to the register, Met Euro had two directors. The first director was Stephen O’Connor and when he resigned in February 2013, Thomas Brian became the appointed director.
During this time, the company struggled to pay its debts from 2012 and by 2014 owed more than £255,000 and faced legal action from creditors left waiting for payment.
The company eventually entered into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation in March 2014 and this triggered an investigation by the Insolvency Service into the conduct of the directors.
Investigators were able to establish that while Stephen O’Connor and Thomas Brian were the registered directors, behind the scenes it was Andrew Brian who was the de facto director controlling the company on a day-to-day basis.
The court heard throughout the proceedings that creditors said they dealt with Andrew Brian in all business matters.
The registration of other directors, including his own son, helped Andrew Brian get round the fact that he had voluntarily signed a six-year disqualification undertaking in February 2009 after causing his previous company to owe a large amount of tax.
Enquiries also found that Andrew Brian and his family substantially benefited from Met Euro’s accounts. For example, payments were made to the joint mortgage account of Andrew Brian and his wife.
Andrew Peter Brian (54), Thomas Roger Brian (31) and Stephen Terrence O’Connor (65) all appeared for sentence before Mr Recorder Doig at Bradford Crown Court on 23 May 2019.
And prior to sentence, Andrew Brian signed a disqualification undertaking for 12 years, while Thomas Brian and Stephen O’Connor each provided 5-year disqualification undertakings for their respective misconduct in the management of Met Euro.
John Ingham, Criminal Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:
Not only did Andrew Brian abuse the company accounts for personal benefit, he sought to conceal his actions behind others, including his own son.
This sentence should serve as a clear warning to other rogue directors, including those that help them carry out their illegal activities, that running a company while banned is a serious offence and could land you with a criminal conviction.
Andrew Brian pleaded guilty to one count of running a company while disqualified and received a 12-month imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, 150 hours of unpaid work and £2,500 contribution to costs to be paid in 12 months.
Following a trial in February 2019, Thomas Brian and Stephen O’Connor were found guilty of aiding and abetting Andrew Brian carry out his offences.
Thomas Brian received a community order for 12 months, 50 hours of unpaid work and £2,500 contribution to costs to be paid in 12 months, plus a victim surcharge.
And Stephen O’Connor received a community order for 12 months, 50 hours unpaid work and £500 contribution to costs to be paid in 12 months, plus a victim surcharge.
The disqualifications of Andrew and Thomas Brian are effective from 2 May 2018. Stephen O’Connor’s is effective from 7 April 2016.
A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:
Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of other restrictions.
About the Insolvency Service
Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.